Who reading this, like the bazaar team, grew up as a Nintendo kid? All of those that raised their hand to that question can take our geeky nod of approval and treat yourself to a cookie. To the rest of you (yeah Team Sega, we’re glaring at you), then I’m sorry, we can no longer be friends since our fat Italian plumber beats your speedy blue hedgehog any day of the week.
All jokes aside, we at bazaar absolutely love retro games. Most people go out and eat during their lunch breaks, but we prefer to open up Aladdin in the Web browser, or Super Mario 64 on a phone emulator. We grew up in the 80’s with the Atari, Amstrad and Commodore. We were in awe when the latest Toys R Us brochure came through the letter box advertising the Nintendo Entertainment System with full 8 BIT graphics! One package came with Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt and the light gun and we really believed we were in the future. When Sega unleashed their mascot on the world, we went crazy for him. Gaming in the old days was so much different to now.
Many times games were so much harder but on another level, far more basic. While you had maybe a whopping 2 or 3 buttons to master (and they were only usually jump and attack), aside from the joystick or D-pad the games were generally harder. You didn’t always have ultra-precise control that modern day control pads offer, so maneuvering your character was more challenging. The graphics were blocky and pixelated which, when paired with an old 19 inch CRT screen meant you sometimes didn’t know if you could jump on that platform hovering in the middle of a huge black hole (we never forget or forgive, Bart Vs The Space Mutants and Castlevania), or if it was just a part of the scenery, and there was no Internet as such for you to check solutions or walkthroughs like today. We would have to wait an entire month for the latest gaming magazine to appear in the shops in the HOPE that they published some cheats for our current game. Oh and let’s not forget that (in the very early days at least) game saves just didn’t exist. You want to see the ending? Better settle in for the long haul because you’re playing that sucker in one go. Ghouls and Ghosts made you play through TWICE until you could get the true ending. Ah, the good old days!
These days, we are spoiled, and true old school gamers will relate. We have blockbuster releases almost monthly that we can buy in stores or download directly. We get to see previews of these years ahead of their release date, weekly updates from the developers via social media, we can even add our own suggestions and input and when we finally get our hands on the games, walkthrough guides are online, ready and waiting from day one. We can save the game progress at any point we chose, we can download extra content, we can customize to our hearts content, and best of all, we no longer need to take the game out of the machine, blow inside it and tap it on our knee to make it work again. Yet for some of us that know the struggle of the old days, we yearn for them and tell others (and ourselves) that gaming was better back then.
The big boys of gaming (Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo) have a huge, ever growing library of older games in their respective download stores that you can get hold of, which is ideal for the newer generation of gamers to get that retro experience on modern machines. But if you ask us, for the best experience, go out and get the original consoles and games. Plug them into an old style television set and use that awkward controller. Sit cross legged on the floor and re-visit the games you never finished as a kid, could never afford or couldn’t access. Have a gaming marathon with your loved one, your kids or your friends. To add even more value, and to ensure the money you spent on all that retro gear is worth it, you can set yourself challenges. How fast can I complete Zone 3, Act 2 of Sonic The Hedgehog 2? Can I beat my time and score on World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros? Can I collect all of the hidden treasures in Ducktails? You can even go as far as to get involved with the speed run community, where gamers try to beat their favorite games, or complete certain challenges in the fastest possible times, with or without cheats. If you’re especially creative, you can customize and mod your retro console with a new paint job or even a unique design.
The possibilities are endless, and even if you just want a casual blast through your favorite old games for a trip down memory lane, the nostalgia rush will be reward enough. Take a break from modern day gaming, pick up the latest releases after a few months when the price will have inevitably dropped anyway. Treat your nostalgia, you won’t regret it.